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Things to Consider in Making a Choice:
- How well the poem incorporates the authlete’s assigned word.
- Technical elements: meter, rhyme, form, shape, and other poetic standards.
- Creativity: wordplay, imagery, unusual approach, etc.
- Subtle elements that make the whole greater than the sum of its parts.
- Your overall response: emotional reaction such as admiration, tears, laughter, terror, or some indefinable feeling.
Here are the poems:
by Jean Daigneau
Today my father said to me I need to mow the yard.
The riding mower’s in the shed, so it will not be hard.
But I would rather think that I’m a famous racing star
And rather than a mower, I am in a souped up car.
I cram my hands into my gloves and tightly grip the wheel.
I know that driving in a race is all about the feel.
I listen for the starting gun, my hand is on the gears.
This race might be a tight one, but I set aside my fears.
It won’t take long until I leave each racer in the dust.
And for the others on the track, this race will be a bust.
I conjure up the finish line, the checkered flag unfurls.
My mind can see me being kissed by lots of pretty girls.
But I’ll admit my racer dreams have somehow gone awry,
Since rather than a victory lap; I’m trying not to cry.
‘Cause when the engine idled with the pedal to the floor
I shifted gears to start the race and crashed into the door.
Behind the Dancing Rain: A Pantoum
by B.J. Lee
Lying in bed on nights when it storms,
I dream of a world past my window pane:
imperceptible movements, mysterious forms,
masked by the dance of the thunder-clapped rain.
I dream of a world past my window pane—
the gnarled fingers of troll-like trees.
Masked by the dance of the thunder-clapped rain,
owls hoo-hoo in the gusty breeze.
The gnarled fingers of troll-like trees
tap the walls of my hapless house.
Owls hoo-hoo in the gusty breeze.
In a sodden field sleeps a quiet mouse.
Tapping the walls of my hapless house,
imperceptible movements, mysterious forms.
In a sodden field sleeps a quiet mouse
in its own hidden bed on nights when it storms.